C4H10 - Butane Gas Formula - Easiest way to understand Butane Gas with examples



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C4H10 is the molecular formula of Butane Gas. This flammable gas is quite useful in jewelry making. As you know copper, brass, bronze, silver, and gold are used in jewelry making and these metals cannot be melted to be re-shaped in jewelry making unless very high temperature is used. For example, the melting point of gold is 1063 °C and so it needs a temperature above this degree to be melted for the purpose of shaping the jewelry as required.

Here is where the use of Butane gas (C4H10) comes in, which when burned, can produce heat as high as that is required for the melting of metals like gold, silver, brass, bronze, tin, platinum, etc. and thus serving the purpose of the jewelry makers. There is a special tool called butane torch that is used to accomplish this task as this tool creates intensely hot flame using butane gas. This tool can generate flame of temperature as high as 1430 °C and for metals like gold, only 1063 °C temperature is required for it's melting. So this is how this gas is useful in melting the tough metals. This is actually a good way to learn chemistry in an easier way when you know the exact use of gas. Otherwise, we need to cram which is not easy for everyone.

The important thing to note here is that there are other gases also which can burn to produce flames of temperature even higher than the butane gas such as acetylene, propane, hydrogen, natural gas, etc but these are not as readily and as easily available as the butane gas. You can visit this link to know the melting points of different metals (as mentioned above) and the possible maximum temperature the gases can burn up to which are used to melt these metals.

But butane (C4H10) is also used in gasoline (petrol) blending. Gasoline is basically used in the vehicles to run them. The crude oil that is imported from other countries in India is not directly usable as petrol or gasoline in the vehicles. There is a process called oil blending which is used first to convert crude oil into finished products such as gasoline (petrol), gas oil and fuel oil. Crude oil enters a refinery and it is processed through various units before being blended into gasoline and butane is used in this blending process. Butane is used in this oil blending process to protect the environment from smog (air pollution).

Actually, two types of Gasoline are used according to whether the season is summer or winter and so there are different blending formulas prepared for the two different seasons. Butane is used to maintain volatility in the gasoline blend. The gasoline needs to have the proper Reid Vapor Pressure (RVP) as the RVP changes in the winter season. The RVP is said to be the normal vapor pressure of the gasoline blend when the temperature is 100 degrees F. Normal atmospheric pressure is usually around 14.7 lbs. Atmospheric pressure is nothing but the weight of the air around us. Now if the gasoline has an RVP greater than 14.7 lbs it can evaporate in the air causing the air pollution. Butane is a relatively inexpensive ingredient in gasoline, but it has the highest vapor pressure at around 52 psi.

In a gasoline blend, each component contributes a fraction to the overall RVP. In the case of butane, if there is 10% butane in the blend, it will contribute around 5.2 psi (10% of 52 psi) to the overall blend. (In reality, it is slightly more complicated than this, because some components interact with each other which can affect the expected RVP). This means that in the summer, the butane fraction must be very low in the gasoline, or the overall RVP of the blend will be too high. So this is how butane is varied (according to the season) and used in the gasoline to maintain volatility in the gasoline blend and thus preventing from the air pollution. Read in more details about gasoline blending here.

As you know plants secrete resins as the resins protect the plants from insects and pathogens. These resins are extremely valuable for the production of adhesives, varnishes and as the food glazing agents. But these resins need to be extracted from the plants and one of the methods to do that is the solvent extraction method and here again, butane is used as the solvent extractor and since it has a very low boiling point it can be distilled from the extract quickly. Propane is also used in the process as both butane and propane are good solvents. Read more here in detail > the role of butane in plant extraction. The same way butane is also used as a fragrance extraction solvent.

However, the most important use of butane is in the LPG gas we use at home for cooking. We need fire to cook and that is what butane is meant for > to produce a flame at the desired temperature. Read more > how butane is used in LPG.

Written by: Rajesh Bihani who is the webmaster of this website. Know more about Rajesh Bihani)

Disclaimer: The suggestions in the article(wherever applicable) are for informational purposes only. They are not intended as medical or any other type of advice